At the most recent Modern Language Association convention (held in Chicago, January 9–12, 2014), I organized a panel (session 757) on “Alt-Ac Work and Gender: It’s Not Plan B.” Stephanie Murray gave a wonderful talk with a feminist perspective on thinking about the metaphor of the jungle gym as a way of exploring the dynamics and value of alternative-academic careers. And Amanda French delivered a moving and powerful paper that used email as an example of the value of “empathy work” as compared to “authority work.” I don’t know what their plans are for sharing their presentations, but there’s a Storify that captured some of the tweets from the session. (Brian Croxall was part of the original panel proposal, but other commitments at the conference meant that he unfortunately had to withdraw. He published his proposed talk—which I hope he might someday expand!—on his site.) § continue reading →
What follows is a presentation I gave at the 2013 convention of the Modern Language Association (known fondly by many of us as #mla13) in the session “How Did I Get Here? Our “Altac” Jobs.” The session was a roundtable discussion, with pecha kucha presentations, about “alternative academic” careers. You can watch the slides with my audio, or read the presentation and look at the slides on your own. My thanks to Brenda Bethman and Shaun Longstreet for organizing the panel and to my fellow panelists and to the audience for a great conversation. (Update: Slideshare no longer supports slides with audio, or at least, no longer supports what I had done, so if you want to hear me, you’ll have to listen to this audio and click through the slides yourself; it’s around 20 seconds a slide if you want to keep pace.)
“Make your own luck” (MLA 2013)
I am the Undergraduate Program Director at the Folger Shakespeare Library, a position I’ve held for six years. § continue reading →
Today is Ada Lovelace Day. Ada Lovelace is often referred to as the first computer programmer, based on her 1842 treatise on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine; Ada Lovelace Day began in 2009 as a way of increasing the profile of women in Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math (commonly referred to as STEM fields).
I’m not in a STEM field (though I’m the almuna of a college that prides itself on turning out huge numbers of women who are). But you know who we could see as being early STEM pioneers? Printers. Early modern printers were using a new technology that had a radical impact on their world. And you know who we find in printing in early modern London? Women.
Here’s a fun thing to try: search the ESTC‘s publisher field for “widow.” There’s 352 results! Now trying searching for “Elizabeth”: 405 results! Jane? 112!
I do an exercise with my students on using the Stationers’ Register and during the course of tracing one book’s passage through the Register, we come across three different women who printed or published the book. § continue reading →